Troubling Islamist Associations for NJ Democrat

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Because of redistricting, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) is running for re-election today against a fellow Democratic incumbent congressman. Pascrell’s slogan: “100% New Jersey Fighter.”

Given his troubling associations with Muslim figures who have espoused fiery anti-Israel rhetoric and turned a blind eye to Hamas sympathizers, though, it’s hard to tell against whom he’s actually fighting.

Take, for example, one of Pascrell’s closest allies for at least a decade: Mohamed El Filali, who is an executive with a local mosque whose founding imam is in jail on terrorism charges and whose current imam is fighting deportation on terror-related grounds.

El Filali leads what could seem like a strange existence, leading grotesque rallies by day and then cozying up at night with congressmen — or at least one congressman in particular, Bill Pascrell.

In April 2002, for example, El Filali led hundreds of followers at an event in cheers equating the Jewish state with the Nazis. According to the New York Times, El Filali was the emcee at the rally when he led the chant of “Sharon, Hitler are the same. Only difference is the name.”

That night, he was at an Arab-American fundraiser attended by over 250 people for Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ). El Filali has donated thousands of dollars to Pascrell over the years, including $1,500 in the past year alone.

Rep. Pascrell, who was not available for an interview for this story, has a long history of support from local Muslim figures who have made fiery anti-Israel comments and has aligned himself very closely with the American Muslim Union, a New Jersey-based political organization that has called for an end to U.S. aid to Israel and whose leadership has included people who have justified Hamas terrorism, accepting thousands in contributions from the group’s president and routinely attending the organization’s annual gathering.

First elected in 1996, the New Jersey Democrat has forged close ties with the Islamic Center of Passaic County (ICPC) – where El Filali serves as an executive – a mosque that has acknowledged hosting lectures from figures who have publicly praised terrorism or have been identified by law enforcement as being Hamas officials. Aside from El Filali, two other ICPC employees, Mazooz Sehwail and Ahmad Suleiman, have given the Pascrell campaign a total of $1,500 in the past year, according to FEC records.

This support has not been a one-way street, as Pascrell has been a staunch opponent of the deportation of ICPC imam Mohammad Qatanani, whom the federal government is attempting to deport for failing to disclose his arrest and subsequent conviction in Israel for supporting Hamas. And Pascrell’s voice carries great weight in this arena, as he is a powerful veteran member.

“It’s pretty outrageous that Pascrell would come to the defense of Qatanani, a convicted supporter of Hamas, especially because there was information made available to him as a member of Congress about the imam’s role in supporting the killing of Jews,” said Steven Emerson, founder of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “He should release details about whatever briefings he received.”

According to a leading Arab-American community figure, Aref Assaf, Pascrell is making a full-court press for support in his tough re-election bid against fellow Democrat Rep. Steve Rothman, following redistricting. Writing for nj.com, Assaf wrote, “At a recent fundraising event in Hasbrouck Heights, James Zogby, president of the American Arab Institute, helped raise over $50,000.” Assaf then cited a volunteer supporter of Pascrell in claiming that the total raised from the “Arab and Muslim community” was over $100,000.

Assaf also writes that Pacrell has helped his political stock in the Arab and Muslim community because of his “strong views in support of Imam Mohammad Qatanani.”

Pascrell appears to be actively targeting the Arab and Muslim community, last week bringing out the first elected Muslim congressman, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who has become one of the most vocal critics of Israel in Congress. Since being elected to Congress, Ellison became even more famous in 2007 for appearing to suggest that 9/11 was an inside job, saying that he wouldn’t call the attack a “U.S. plan … because, you know, that’s how they put you in the nut-ball box — dismiss you.”

Last week was not the first time Pascrell brought Ellison to his district. Less than a year after Ellison compared 9/11 to the Reichstag Fire, Pascrell arranged for the Muslim congressman to speak to an audience of 300 at ICPC. According to a March 2008 Herald News account of the event, imam Mohammad Qatanani, who was already fighting deportation on terror-related charges, praised Ellison, remarking, “You are an example for us.”

Islamic Center of Passaic County

The ICPC has other troubling connections. Mohammed El-Mezain, one of the co-founders of ICPC over 20 years ago and the mosque’s first imam, was convicted in 2008 of providing support to Hamas and sentenced to 15 years in prison. In 1994, according to an FBI memo written shortly after 9/11 by Dale Watson, the then-assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, El-Mezain was cheerleading at a Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA) conference in favor of funding Hamas following a speaker introduced to the audience as the head of the “Hamas military wing.” Here’s what the FBI memo reports him saying:

I’ve been told to restrict or restrain what I say…I hope no one is recording me or taking any pictures, as none are allowed…because I’m going to speak the truth to you. It’s simple. Finish off the Israelis. Kill them all! Exterminate them! No peace ever!

“Following Siyam’s speech,” the memo continues, “El-Mezain exhorted the crowd to contribute money. It was subsequently announced that $207,000 was raised for ‘the cause.’” The FBI informant also said that at the conference, Mr. El-Mezain announced that he had raised $1.8 million inside the United States for Hamas in 1994 alone.

(Magdy Mahmoud, who was an executive at MAYA at the time of the conference, later went on to become an official at the American Muslim Union. He gave five contributions to Pascrell from 2000 to 2008, totaling $1,500, according to FEC records. In 2004, when he was president of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, he helped co-sponsor an AMU event that featured Pascrell, according to a March 2004 New York Sun article.)

El-Mezain allegedly was quite open about his Hamas fundraising at ICPC. From the same FBI report: “[D]uring a speech at the Islamic Center of Passaic County (ICPC) in November, 1994, Mohammad El-Mezain, the HLFRD’s [Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development’s] current Director of Endowments and former Chairman of the HLFRD Board, admitted that some of the money collected by the ICPC and the HLFRD goes to HAMAS or HAMAS activities in Israel. El-Mezain also defended HAMAS and the activities carried out by HAMAS.”

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  • StephenD

    Pascrell is a pig. Wherever he can be fed is where his heart is. The Muslims fed him…he smiles on them. He freely and openly associates with the likes of Ellison and is a supporter of Hamas friendly Imam's. I'd say this borders on treason. But then again, we have a President that does the same. November can't come soon enough.

    • choi

      Pascrell is more than a pig,he's a POS.

  • Schlomotion

    This is the more fair and balanced article about this same subject:
    http://freebeacon.com/jersey-roar

    The more fair and balanced view of this issue is that Jews and Arabs are fighting over a candidate. Caucasians aren't. Afro-Americans aren't. Asian-Americans aren't. Regular old Americans aren't. The author of the article featured on Frontpage is trying to make Jews look like an US and Arabs look like a THEM. You are both a THEM squabbling over a New Jersey Democrat.

    • reader

      You don't even know what "Cacausian" mean, dufus.

    • Zionista

      get lost islamonazi butt sucker

    • HoR_Emperor

      Shut it, anti-Semitic cretin.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    Tomorrow, June 6, is the 44th anniversary of the assassination of US Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy.

    RFK was murdered by one of Schlockys heroes, a paleswinian.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    The same people who support Pascrell support murderous paleswinian assassins and savages.

  • wctaqiyya

    So, let me get this straight, is the author of this article suggesting that Muslims in NJ are opposing a Jewish candidate, because he is Jewish? That's amazing. Don't the Muslims know that most Jews vote for the same politicians who increased the importation of Muslims? That's gratitude for ya. Be interesting to see how long it takes the Jews to learn they are slicing their own necks every time they vote for a democrat candidate. At least the Muslims know what they want and they aren't confused about demanding it. That's why they are winning all over the world and why their candidate will win in NJ. Ah yes, and Congress is pondering the wisdom of granting special privileges and protections in the law tor Muslims. The wisdom is just overflowing in America these days.

    • Ted G

      A rabid or rogue wolf wins for while too, until he kills to many sheep…then its usually hunted down and killed.

      • Ted G

        If I may also add that once the decision to begin the hunt is made it is carried out without apology and without remorse. Its just something that needs to be done.

        • wctaqiyya

          Sure, but hunting several million wolves is a slightly different matter. Specially when they have legal protections from the sheep they live among. Further, just who is gonna be doing the hunting? All those morons who believe so deeply in cultural diversity, gun control laws and tolerance and equal rights for anything that's anti-American? Which, incidentally includes most republicans. That's what I thought. And, as I predicted, Pascrell won by a comfortable margin.

          The slide into a Sharia ruled America is going to happen faster and faster now. First, the NYPD had to stop investigating terrorists in NJ. Then, the FBI apologizes for doing the same thing and trains all of it's people to believe Islam isn't the problem and not all terrorists are Muslim. Even though they are. Then, the Muslims elect more politicians to Congress. Since they already have a Muslim in the White House, I guess I would say the tide has taken a turn for the worse. Do you still believe there's gonna be a hunt for wolves?

          • Ted G

            I prefer to remain optimistic. We are millions upon million ourselves.
            I would also say that they are currently afforded political cover by traitors, not legal protections based on our laws.
            Having said that I also do know the difference between someone either calling themselves or being forced to call themselves muslim and the ideology of islam itself and its true followers.

            My metaphor about the wolf above will only come true if our political class continues to lie to the people while also continuing to do nothing to address the problem.

          • wctaqiyya

            Well, I won't knock you for being optimistic. Hope for a better tomorrow is a good thing.

  • mlcblog

    Must be a buddy of NJ Gov. Chris Ghristie.

    • Beatrix

      They do like the Arabs in New Jersey.

  • Beatrix

    The election result wasn't even close. With 90% of the vote counted, Pascrell got 64% and Rothman 36%.
    “Commentary” called both men “pro-Israel,” while mentioning that one Arab supporter of Pascrell's accused Rothman of being an “Israeli Firster,” which Pascrell ignored. And they added that Pascrell signed the pro-Hamas petition.

    The NY Times omits any mention of Arab support of Pascrell or Rothman's support of Israel.
    This was a primary. In the general election, Pascrell will run against a Republican Rabbi, who obviously doesn't stand a chance.